Twelve Days of Chiasmus

Colour photo of Loch Etive on a calm, cloudless day. Ben Cruachan reflected in the water.
Ben Cruachan and Loch Etive.

Marking each day of the holidays with twelve quotations that each feature a chiasmus.

  1. ‘A certain redressing of the cosmic balance seems to have occurred: this time not only have I written about them, but they have written about me too.’ (Cees Nooteboom, Nomad’s Hotel)
  2. ‘I want you to say you love me, even though I don’t love you. It might restore the balance.’ (Claire Keegan, ‘Quare Name for a Boy’)
  3. ‘My honour is not what I proclaim to you about myself but what you proclaim to me.’ (Bertholt Brecht, Me-Ti: Book of Interventions in the Flow of Things, trans Antony Tatlow)
  4. ‘Yes, we have rendered to these true cannibals war for war, crime for crime, outrage for outrage; yes, I have saved my country; I have avenged America.’ (Jean-Jacques Dessalines, proclamation of 28 April 1804)
  5. ‘I wonder if they recognise me as quickly as I, them’. (Dionne Brand, ‘At the Lisbon Plate’)
  6. ‘Men look. So do women. Women look too. So ha ha there. If men dont think they do, they do, women look at men.’ (James Kelman, Mo Said She Was Quirky)
  7. ‘A wedding gift of dishes. “It starts when you sink in his arms…”’ (Kathleen Jamie, Surfacing)
  8. ‘Aye, he’s chasing me now, not I, him.’  (Herman Melville, Moby-Dick)
  9. ‘Most tasks are easier said than done. In the case of coming together across seemingly intractable barriers, however, the reverse may be true: this one is easier done than said.’ (Naomi Klein, Doppelganger)
  10. ‘What is the blue road anyway but an opportunity to poke at the unseen and a hoping the unseen will poke back?’ (William Least Heat-Moon, Blue Highways)
  11. ‘The yes becoming no, the no becoming yes, the yes becoming both yes and no, the no becoming both no and yes, the contraries balance, neutralise, paralyse each other.’  (Karl Marx, The Poverty of Philosophy)
  12. ‘It is ever so hard for people to wrap their minds around the idea that someone could have been the enemy of your enemy and yet not a benevolent force. A victim and also a perpetrator. Or vice versa.’ (Masha Gessen, ‘In the Shadow of the Holocaust’)